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548 Bellevue Avenue
Newport, RI 02840

Hours Beginning September 1
Open Daily 10am-3pm
Adults $25
Youth (6-12) $10
Preservation Society Members Free

Current Exhibition at Rosecliff

The Celestial City: Newport and China

September 1, 2023–February 11, 2024

Since Newport’s beginnings as a colonial seaport, generations of its citizens have looked to China for knowledge, beauty, fortune and freedom. In turn, many different people of Chinese heritage, including artists, merchants, immigrant entrepreneurs and women suffragists, shaped all aspects of life in Newport. Their stories are at the heart of this exhibition.

The Celestial City explores China’s deep influence on Newport from the 18th century through the Gilded Age (1865-1915), when the city emerged as America’s premier summer playground and the fall of China’s last imperial dynasty transformed the ancient nation.

The extraordinary objects on display include more than 100 works from the Preservation Society’s collection and other institutions in a range of media, from paintings, sculptures, prints and photographs to fashion, ceramics, lacquerwares and lanterns.

Highlights include treasures of Chinese art collected by Newport merchants and industrialists; photographs and stories from Newport’s early Chinese community; and the writings, portraits and family heirlooms of Chinese women suffragists who inspired American women’s rights leaders including Alva Vanderbilt Belmont of Marble House. Contemporary artworks by Yu-Wen Wu and Jennifer Ling Datchuk will illuminate Chinese contributions to Newport as well as hidden connections between the Newport mansions and the Chinese American experience.

To view more pieces from the exhibition, click here.

Related Programs

Fall Lecture Series: The Celestial City

In conjunction with The Celestial City exhibition at Rosecliff, our Fall Lecture Series explores different aspects of the Chinese-American experience and the many ways life in Newport and America was influenced and enriched by people of Chinese heritage. Held both in-person and over Zoom.

Past Lectures:

Exclusion, Rhode Island, Kinship: Making Your Own Chinese Family
Lecture at Rosecliff and via Zoom
November 9, 2023

Scholar Dr. John Eng-Wong examines the impact of the Chinese Exclusion Act of 1882 and how social practices of the era impacted Chinese families.

"Our Sisters in China are Free”: Chinese Women’s Contributions to US Suffrage
Lecture at Marble House and via Zoom
October 12, 2023

Distinguished speakers Dr. Cathleen D. Cahill and Bayer Lee discuss Chinese and American women’s impact on the US suffrage movement.

The Celestial City: A Closer Look at Treasures Illuminating China’s Contributions to Newport
Lecture at Rosecliff and via Zoom
October 26, 2023

Learn insights into the dazzling artworks in the Preservation Society’s groundbreaking new exhibition that reveals Chinese and Chinese-American individuals' contributions to life in Newport.


The Preservation Society of Newport County, Rhode Island, is a nonprofit organization accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. It is dedicated to preserving and interpreting the area's historic architecture, landscapes, decorative arts and social history. Its 11 historic properties – seven of them National Historic Landmarks–span more than 250 years of American architectural and social development.